by City Manager Ken Striplin
When was the last time you checked your emergency kit, stocked up on water or practiced your family emergency plan? Living in California we have become accustomed to the constant threat of natural disasters. It’s been several years since the last big earthquake, but I bet many of us still vividly remember where we were during the devastating Northridge Quake of 1994.
A more constant and present danger is that caused by wildfires. Last year was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire season in California. According to Cal Fire, a total of 8,527 fires burned nearly 2 million acres at a cost of $3.5 billion in
damages, in addition to more than $1.5 billion in fire suppression costs.
As we head deeper into the long hot days of summer, the fire threat grows as the lush vegetation on our hillsides dries out. I encourage all of you to do your part to protect our community from wildfires. Ensure you don’t accidentally spark a fire by lighting off fireworks, properly dispose of lit cigarettes and don’t use any landscaping equipment that could throw off sparks near dry brush.
Make sure your property is ready for fire danger as well. Clear the vegetation around your home and property line to allow a defensible space which will provide a fire break, and allow a space for firefighters to make a stand. Proper clearance dramatically increases the chance of your house surviving a wildfire.
I encourage everyone to review the Ready! Set! Go! materials from the Los Angeles County Fire Department at fire.lacounty.gov/ready-set-go.pdf. Also, remember to update your emergency supplies and review your evacuation plan. You can find more preparedness information on our website at santa-clarita.com/emergency. By taking the proper precautions you can prepare your family to be resilient in the event of a natural disaster.
City Manager Ken Striplin can be reached at Kstriplin@santa-clarita.com